The Construction of a High Performance Home: Week 1

Posted by Tim Biebel on Feb 7, 2017 11:32:28 AM

High Performance Home, Vermont

I used to like winter; the deep snow, the cold, and the fun that came with it. Sure, I could still find ways to make it fun if I wanted to, but there isn’t much fun about winter in Vermont as it relates to work, especially construction. I don’t spend much time in the field anymore, so at least I don’t have to deal with working in the elements that way. I just have to plan for changing weather and how it affects build schedules. That has a frustration of its own.

Last Monday we broke ground on a 2,210 square foot, high performance home with an attached two car garage in Norwich, Vermont. The topography of the land allowed for a walkout basement that looks out over a small pond. If the basement space is ever finished off in the future, the large windows in the walkout wall will provide a nice view of the ermine that lives nearby. On the day construction began a mouse was snagged along a stonewall in miniature explosion of snow and sticks. Breakfast is served!

While the basement space will remain unfinished for now, the main floor will consist of three bedroom spaces, two full baths and an open kitchen and living room area that looks out over the pond as well. It also happens to be the south side of the house, and large windows will provide ample sunlight on cloudless days. Lately, I’ve wondered if we would ever see the sun again. History has proven that the sun will shine again at some point, but two weeks straight of cloudy weather can make a guy wonder.

To combat the cold that I’ve come to strongly dislike, the owners are wisely investing in a high performance home in Vermont. The walls will be twelve inches thick and filled with dense pack cellulose insulation, thus achieving an R-45 wall assembly. The flat ceiling will be covered in a blanket of 18” of loose fill cellulose, which will provide an R-60 rating. Additionally, the foundation walls are insulated concrete form (ICF) for an R-22 rating, and the slab will be poured on top of four inches of rigid foam for an R-15 continuous rating. As the project progresses I will get into the specifics of each assembly as well as other details.

Click here to read week 2 update.

For now, I will leave you with a few pictures of the site work that transpired during the first week. 

Excavation High Performance Home Vermont


Excavation High Performance Home Vermont


High Performance Home Footings

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Tim Biebel

by Tim Biebel

Tim Biebel is Vice President of Prudent Living, a leading net zero and energy efficiency building company located in Windsor, VT.




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